Today, as I observed my fellow commuters, I started grinning.
Have you noticed men’s body language – to be more precise, hand language – when they’re using a tablet and, to a lesser degree, any smartphone? The hand is held above the gadget, fingers curled daintily, pinky in the air as if its owner were an old peer of the realm, the most honourable Ashley, Marquess of Friockheim-Prinknash.
It’s amusing enough when the iPadder uses his index finger. It gets truly divine when he prefers his middle finger: it looks as if he’s giving his gadget the bird. All very delicately, of course.
It can get a bit irritating if you’re sitting next to an iPadder in a crowded train: the more enthusiastically he uses his tablet, the more arm movement there is. It gets even worse if it’s a teenager playing on his Nintendo or PlayStation, but now I’m digressing, so let’s stop there.
We’re now in a period referred to as 三寒四温 (sankan shion) in Japanese: 3 days cold and 4 days warm. Today was close to 20 degrees Celsius, but the temperature will plummet on Thursday.
Cold weather will continue into April: it’s an old tradition in Tokyo that you freeze during hanami.
Poet Jean-Dany Joachim grew up among poets in his native Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He wrote a poem entitled To hear and to see are two different things, that’s true after he had witnessed the destruction of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Today, two years and one day after another massive earthquake struck off the east coast of Japan, I share this poem with you.
I went and I am back, tande ak we se de
It was like in a dream,
or one of those movies that show the after world.
Two hundred years of words I will need to describe
the desolation my eyes have seen.
Two hundred years of memory to heal the scars
many years of labor,
and many more years of relearning.
I saw Port-au-Prince with its guts open,
its bare bones exposed to nothingness.
I saw tangible fear.
I could feel the anxiety and the anguish of the survivors,
but also I saw life waking up slowly.
That reminded me of ants,
coming out of their holes after a heavy rain.